In 2015, the AHDC recognized a major need for a Family Resource Center in Clay County, AL. The family resource center model has proven to be one of the most successful social service models available to communities and families. This model is resource-friendly and effective in helping families access and utilize social services to address life’s complex issues. The FRC phone number is 256-252-1099
The AHDC’s Family Resource Center (FRC) provides a broad range of services, specific to low income families with young children, the elderly, and disabled. The strength of the FRC’s approach is that evidence-based strategies are woven together into the participants’ larger plan for success. The AHDC’s Family Resource Center is ready to work with participants to break down barriers to success through our Community Outreach and Service Programs.
Community Outreach Programs (COP) range in size and scope, but always produce the same results: spreading good throughout our neighborhoods. Offering community outreach programs and events builds goodwill and provides the opportunity to promote the benefits of wellness in body, mind, and soul for our community as a whole.
The AHDC partners with the Sylacauga Alliance for Family Enhancement (SAFE) to provide information and referral services as well as classes such as Parents as Teachers, GED, Living Well Alabama, plus T’ai Chi & Qigong, and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. The Clay County FRC is located at 44 Runyan Court in Ashland, AL and is open Monday thru Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm.
The FRC targets two main areas that is the focus of our Community Outreach Programs:
A. Health & Wellness
B. Vocational Training & Economic Development
Health and Wellness Outreach Program
The USDA defines “Food Deserts” as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers. Clay County has been designated as a food desert. We do have three franchise grocery stores in the county however the nearest major grocery store that provides whole foods, including organic fruits and vegetables is 44 miles away, and the nearest big box retailer that has a small selection of these items is 27 miles away, both “over the mountain”.
This has become a big problem in our community because while food deserts are often short on whole food providers, we are heavy on local quick marts that provide a wealth of processed, sugar, and fat laden foods that are known contributors to Alabama’s obesity epidemic.
● Nearly 1.8 million Alabama residents – including 500,000 children – live in low-income areas without adequate access to full-service groceries and nutritious meals.
● According to the Centers for Disease Control, Alabama has among the highest obesity rates in the country. (More than 32 percent of Alabama adults are obese, while 35 percent of children are overweight)
Many residents of food deserts rely on small convenience stores to obtain all of their groceries. Food deserts are often located in economically distressed areas where much of the population relies on the supplemental assistance provided by the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP). Prices of fresh food are significantly more expensive when purchased in food deserts, which present a lower value of purchase to individuals who are already economically stressed. Fresh, locally-grown foods are available at farmers markets but very few of the markets are located in food deserts, making their access difficult for economically disadvantaged consumers.
In 2014, the US Census indicated that Clay County, AL had 13,552 residents, of those 2,319 received SNAP benefits in 2013, which is almost one in five individuals. Consumer choices about food spending and diet are likely to be influenced by the accessibility of food retailers, travel time to shopping, availability of healthy foods, and food prices. Some people and places, especially those with low income, may face greater barriers in accessing healthy and affordable food retailers, which may negatively affect diet and food security.